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Government launches £12 million grant to boost startup growth

A key focus of the funding will be improving regional support networks for startups

The UK government has launched a new grant competition aimed at boosting the growth of innovative tech startups and scale-ups across the country.

The £12.09 million Digital Growth Grant focuses on opening up access to skills training and advice and providing support services to the digital and tech sector over two years.

A key focus of the funding will be improving regional support networks for startups, which the government hopes will spread the benefits of the country’s world-leading tech industry across the UK.

The successful recipient of the grant will deliver support services to the digital sector, particularly in transformative or emerging technologies, which should address key challenges faced by companies from the seed funding stage to their first or second round of financing, although it didn’t specify which challenges.

The recipient should also grow regional support networks for technology startups and ensure founders and firms can access digital entrepreneurship and investment readiness training with tailored advice to help develop their skills to start and grow a tech business. 

Lastly, the recipient should promote and raise awareness of the strength and competitiveness of the UK tech sector with the aim of boosting investor confidence and inspiring the next generation of tech workers and entrepreneurs.

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“Start ups and scale-ups are hugely important to our thriving tech sector", said digital minister Chris Philp. “This funding is dedicated to growing these innovative businesses wherever they are in the country, providing the support and skills they need to succeed and create good jobs and generate wealth.”

Applications are set to open later in the year after the government has consulted the market to help refine the grant specification.

The competition will be run in the summer by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) and the funding will be granted to the successful organisation from 1 April 2023. 

The grant’s funding was previously awarded to Tech Nation, a platform that helps founders, leaders, and startups to grow. DCMS will continue to provide direct grant funding to Tech Nation until March 2023.

The government is looking to bolster the UK’s startup sector, especially after the UK’s technology industry was found to be worth $1 trillion following a surge of growth throughout the pandemic. Figures from Dealroom suggested the tech sector had doubled in value in 2020 to $942 billion and continued to see growth in both private and public markets throughout 2021.

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